Thursday, March 26, 2020

"Made in China": Provision of PPE and Test Kits Stat!

Trump and his lot seem to think that taking supplies from China would threaten American safety so they are relying on 3M to come through in a matter of weeks, which he mentioned in his press conference today.  Weeks, when we could have what we need in days! A decent President would repair relations with China and ask that this nation, which makes about 50% of the PPE in the world, get them on planes to New York, New Orleans, and New England tomorrow. I believe that we could have masks that would save the lives of health professionals and others on hand in a matter of days, if we could get them out of China....but we cannot. I have an Indian friend who has crates of FDA-approved N95 masks ready to go, but he cannot find an airplane to get them out.

A friend of mine who usually knows what's going on told me, "There were some disparaging reports out of China about faulty supplies so it might be difficult to expedite anything or get traction [for your effort to send test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE)]." Meanwhile, the US is trying to get test kits from Korea. I cannot speak to a few bad apples or masks that seem to have poisoned the pot, but the people that I am working with have a high level of professional integrity and quality control. They make test kits to be used in China so it would be a baseless accusation to say that they had a side operation of making sub-standard kits for sale in other countries where China might want the disease to spread. China does not want the disease to spread. Our economy and theirs are in a symbiotic relationship. The crippling economic blow of the last couple months of lock-down which looks like it is about to be repeated in the US and Europe is good for nobody, especially the low-paid essential workers who deliver our mail and check us out at the grocery store.

There are reasons to be worried about greedy capitalists in both countries, but the vast majority of folks want to save lives and do good in a time of incredible need. 

Hatemongers, such as Senator Tom Cotton, who does not even realize that Advil is iubprofen, continue to spew their bile. There are also propaganda efforts, for sure, in China, which Axios has detailed in their newsletter; however, the vast majority of regular folks in both countries do not want nurses and doctors, grandmas and grandpas to die, because we do not have enough masks on hand. Of course, lots of young people are dying, too, and masks won't save them all.

What we, in our group, are struggling with as we try to decide where to send supplies is whether FEMA will do a good job at speedy and just distribution. They have such a poor record in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. In fact, FEMA's clumsy form does not bode well. (In the last 24 hours, they changed the URL so we had to look it up again and the old URL-- does not redirect.) On the other hand, the prospect of sending PPE and test-kits to the points on this map below is daunting. We should be able to trust FEMA to send supplies where they are needed most.